Architecture

Gallery: A pictorial journey through the work of acclaimed architect I.M. Pei

Gallery: A pictorial journey t...
The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington was over a decade in the making with Pei initially selected to design the structure in the late 1960s (Credit: Difference Engine (CC BY SA 4.0))
The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington was over a decade in the making with Pei initially selected to design the structure in the late 1960s (Credit: Difference Engine (CC BY SA 4.0))
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Commissioned in 1984 and completed in 1989, this glass pyramid entrance for the Louvre was controversial at the time, with many critics feeling the sharp modernist style jarred with the classic surrounding architecture. It is now considered one of the most successful modernist landmarks of the 20th century with many museums replicating its pyramid structure (Credit: Erik Drost (CC BY 2.0))
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Commissioned in 1984 and completed in 1989, this glass pyramid entrance for the Louvre was controversial at the time, with many critics feeling the sharp modernist style jarred with the classic surrounding architecture. It is now considered one of the most successful modernist landmarks of the 20th century with many museums replicating its pyramid structure (Credit: Erik Drost (CC BY 2.0))
Commissioned in 1984 and completed in 1989, this iconic landmark was controversial at the time but is now considered one of the most successful modernist landmarks of the 20th century
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Commissioned in 1984 and completed in 1989, this iconic landmark was controversial at the time but is now considered one of the most successful modernist landmarks of the 20th century
The Louvre's glass pyramid is now considered one of the most successful modernist landmarks of the 20th century with many museums replicating its pyramid structure (Credit: Dennis Jarvis (CC BY 2.0))
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The Louvre's glass pyramid is now considered one of the most successful modernist landmarks of the 20th century with many museums replicating its pyramid structure (Credit: Dennis Jarvis (CC BY 2.0))
Opened in 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sits on the shore of Cleveland’s Lake Erie. Pei stated his intention with the design was to echo the energy of rock and roll (Credit: Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0))
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Opened in 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sits on the shore of Cleveland’s Lake Erie. Pei stated his intention with the design was to echo the energy of rock and roll (Credit: Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0))
Of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pie said, "I hope the building will become a dramatic landmark for the city of Cleveland and for fans of rock and roll around the world." (Credit: Michael Barera (CC BY SA 4.0))
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Of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pie said, "I hope the building will become a dramatic landmark for the city of Cleveland and for fans of rock and roll around the world." (Credit: Michael Barera (CC BY SA 4.0))
The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington was over a decade in the making with Pei initially selected to design the structure in the late 1960s (Credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm (CC BY SA 2.5))
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The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington was over a decade in the making with Pei initially selected to design the structure in the late 1960s (Credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm (CC BY SA 2.5))
Pei's geometrical design for The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington divides the trapezoidal shape of the site into two triangles (Credit: The National Gallery of Art (CC BY SA 4.0))
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Pei's geometrical design for The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington divides the trapezoidal shape of the site into two triangles (Credit: The National Gallery of Art (CC BY SA 4.0))
The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington was over a decade in the making with Pei initially selected to design the structure in the late 1960s (Credit: Difference Engine (CC BY SA 4.0))
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The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington was over a decade in the making with Pei initially selected to design the structure in the late 1960s (Credit: Difference Engine (CC BY SA 4.0))
The last structure Pei ever designed was the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. Coaxed out of retirement at the age of 91 Pei spent six months traveling throughout the Muslim world to understand Islamic architecture before creating this instantly iconic museum (Credit: Francisco Anzola (CC BY 2.0))
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The last structure Pei ever designed was the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. Coaxed out of retirement at the age of 91 Pei spent six months traveling throughout the Muslim world to understand Islamic architecture before creating this instantly iconic museum (Credit: Francisco Anzola (CC BY 2.0))
The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar is built on an artificial island in Doha (Credit: Wiki Commons CC BY SA 4.0)
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The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar is built on an artificial island in Doha (Credit: Wiki Commons CC BY SA 4.0)
Inspired by ancient Islamic architecture, yet distinctly modern, the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar features over 14 centuries of Islamic art  (Credit: Elisabetta Pietrostefani (CC BY SA 3.0))
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Inspired by ancient Islamic architecture, yet distinctly modern, the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar features over 14 centuries of Islamic art  (Credit: Elisabetta Pietrostefani (CC BY SA 3.0))
The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar was officially opened on November 22, 2008 before being opened to the general public the following month (Credit: Shahin Olakara (CC BY SA 4.0))
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The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar was officially opened on November 22, 2008 before being opened to the general public the following month (Credit: Shahin Olakara (CC BY SA 4.0))
Pei was selected to design Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 1964 but years of setbacks meant it wasn’t completed until 1979. Due to the years of redesigns and compromises Pei was never truly happy with the final product (Credit: FCB981 (CC BY SA 3.0))
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Pei was selected to design Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 1964 but years of setbacks meant it wasn’t completed until 1979. Due to the years of redesigns and compromises Pei was never truly happy with the final product (Credit: FCB981 (CC BY SA 3.0))
Pei was selected to design Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 1964 but years of setbacks meant it wasn’t completed until 1979. Due to the years of redesigns and compromises Pei was never truly happy with the final product (Credit: Bohao Zhao (CC BY SA 3.0))
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Pei was selected to design Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 1964 but years of setbacks meant it wasn’t completed until 1979. Due to the years of redesigns and compromises Pei was never truly happy with the final product (Credit: Bohao Zhao (CC BY SA 3.0))
An early project by Pei, the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan was completed in 1963
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An early project by Pei, the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan was completed in 1963
An early project by Pei, the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan was completed in 1963
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An early project by Pei, the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan was completed in 1963
On the campus of Princeton University is the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science
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On the campus of Princeton University is the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science
The Dallas City Hall was completed in 1978 and the inverted pyramid structure was designed to increase the size of the ground level public spaces. The building was also notoriously used in the classic 1980s film Robocop
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The Dallas City Hall was completed in 1978 and the inverted pyramid structure was designed to increase the size of the ground level public spaces. The building was also notoriously used in the classic 1980s film Robocop
The Dallas City Hall was completed in 1978 and the inverted pyramid structure was designed to increase the size of the ground level public spaces. The building was also notoriously used in the classic 1980s film Robocop
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The Dallas City Hall was completed in 1978 and the inverted pyramid structure was designed to increase the size of the ground level public spaces. The building was also notoriously used in the classic 1980s film Robocop
The Dallas City Hall was completed in 1978 and the inverted pyramid structure was designed to increase the size of the ground level public spaces. The building was also notoriously used in the classic 1980s film Robocop (Credit: Daquella manera (CC BY 2.0))
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The Dallas City Hall was completed in 1978 and the inverted pyramid structure was designed to increase the size of the ground level public spaces. The building was also notoriously used in the classic 1980s film Robocop (Credit: Daquella manera (CC BY 2.0))
Fountain Place, an incredible 60-story skyscraper, was completed in 1986 and designed in a unique prism shape resulting in the building having a number of different profiles depending on the direction it is being viewed from (Credit: Ithamalfonso,melog (CC BY SA 4.0))
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Fountain Place, an incredible 60-story skyscraper, was completed in 1986 and designed in a unique prism shape resulting in the building having a number of different profiles depending on the direction it is being viewed from (Credit: Ithamalfonso,melog (CC BY SA 4.0))
Fountain Place, an incredible 60-story skyscraper, was completed in 1986 and designed in a unique prism shape resulting in the building having a number of different profiles depending on the direction it is being viewed from (Credit: Andreas Praefcke (CC BY SA 3.0))
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Fountain Place, an incredible 60-story skyscraper, was completed in 1986 and designed in a unique prism shape resulting in the building having a number of different profiles depending on the direction it is being viewed from (Credit: Andreas Praefcke (CC BY SA 3.0))
Fountain Place, an incredible 60-storey skyscraper, was completed in 1986 and designed in a unique prism shape resulting in the building having a number of different profiles depending on the direction it is being viewed (Credit: Joe Mabel CC BY SA 3.0)
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Fountain Place, an incredible 60-storey skyscraper, was completed in 1986 and designed in a unique prism shape resulting in the building having a number of different profiles depending on the direction it is being viewed (Credit: Joe Mabel CC BY SA 3.0)
The massive Miho Museum is situated near Kyoto in Japan. Built in 1997 the vast majority of this structure is underground as Pei’s design is burrowed into the hilly landscape
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The massive Miho Museum is situated near Kyoto in Japan. Built in 1997 the vast majority of this structure is underground as Pei’s design is burrowed into the hilly landscape
The massive Miho Museum is situated near Kyoto in Japan. Built in 1997 the vast majority of this structure is underground as Pei’s design is burrowed into the hilly landscape (Credit: KimonBerlin (CC BY SA 2.0))
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The massive Miho Museum is situated near Kyoto in Japan. Built in 1997 the vast majority of this structure is underground as Pei’s design is burrowed into the hilly landscape (Credit: KimonBerlin (CC BY SA 2.0))
The massive Miho Museum is situated near Kyoto in Japan. Built in 1997 the vast majority of this structure is underground as Pei’s design is burrowed into the hilly landscape (Credit: 663highland (CC BY SA 3.0))
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The massive Miho Museum is situated near Kyoto in Japan. Built in 1997 the vast majority of this structure is underground as Pei’s design is burrowed into the hilly landscape (Credit: 663highland (CC BY SA 3.0))
This OCBC Centre in Singapore was completed in 1976 and is one of Pei’s riffs on brutalist architecture. It has been nicknamed The Calculator due to its button-pad style visage (Credit: Terrence Ong (CC BY SA 3.0))
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This OCBC Centre in Singapore was completed in 1976 and is one of Pei’s riffs on brutalist architecture. It has been nicknamed The Calculator due to its button-pad style visage (Credit: Terrence Ong (CC BY SA 3.0))
One the last designs before Pei’s retirement, the Suzhou Museum in China is a fascinating blend of traditional local architecture and modern style (Credit: Another Believer (CC BY SA 4.0))
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One the last designs before Pei’s retirement, the Suzhou Museum in China is a fascinating blend of traditional local architecture and modern style (Credit: Another Believer (CC BY SA 4.0))
The current building of the Suzhou Museum in China designed by Pei was opened in 2006 (Credit: Universe 729 (CC BY SA 3.0))
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The current building of the Suzhou Museum in China designed by Pei was opened in 2006 (Credit: Universe 729 (CC BY SA 3.0))

Iconic architect I.M. Pei has died at the age of 102. Pei was one of the most prolific and influential architects of the last century and he leaves a legacy that includes the controversial modernist pyramid renovation of the Louvre and, more recently, an incredible geometric take on Islamic architecture in the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

Pei's work, and life, perhaps best defines the unique globalized modernist movement of the 20th century, although Pei himself resolutely rejected being labeled with a singular aesthetic.

"The talk about modernism versus post-modernism is unimportant. It's a side issue," Pei was once quoted as saying. "An individual building, the style in which it is going to be designed and built, is not that important. The important thing, really, is the community. How does it affect life?"

Born in China in 1917, Pei moved to the United States in 1935 to study before establishing his own architecture firm in 1955 and going on to create an incredible assortment of structures across the world. From museums to skyscrapers, Pei's work beautifully threaded a needle between pragmatic and audacious, always understanding the importance of a structure fitting in with its surrounding environment but never fearing bold geometric shapes.

Take a look through our gallery celebrating some of Pei's most incredible, influential and iconic work.

2 comments
ei3io
The Everson Museum in Syracuse NY if much better looking than that mass of bricks at Princeton.
ljaques
"influential and iconic work." Um, right...whatever. Don't the curators at Everson know that building exteriors need to be washed once in awhile?